The Canary Project: What Global Warming Looks Like

One method of showing people the reality of global warming involves graphs, charts and numbers -- let's call this the Gore method. While that method is effective for many of us, still others need something more tangible and, perhaps, even emotional. That's a big part of the rationale for the Canary Project, a photography collection by photographer Susannah Sayler and her husband Edward Morris. The couple have started a touring exhibit of the collection in order to show Americans the concrete effects climate change is having on some of the world's most treasured natural and urban landscapes. In making these images available, Sayler and Morris hope that we learn much more about the transformations occurring because of the changing climate, and perhaps even a little bit about ourselves:

The mission of The Canary Project is to photograph landscapes around the world that are exhibiting dramatic transformation due to global warming and to use these photographs to persuade as many people as possible that global warming is already underway and of immediate concern.

To compile a persuasive body of images, we will be photographing at least 16 landscapes throughout the world. These images will show that global warming: (1) is affecting the world in a variety of ways (melting, sea-level rise, drought, extreme weather events, dying habitats, etc.); (2) is affecting every place on earth. (See map)

In addition to providing visual evidence of the changing climate, we also hope to address something more fundamental that possibly lies behind apathy towards the issue in the U.S.: people's sense of remove from the forces of nature.

The first stop for the exhibit is Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit opened on July 6th, and Sayler and Morris will be lecturing there tonight. In conjunction with the museum show, forty-five city buses in Denver are displaying Canary images beside the message "This is What Global Warming Looks Like." The exhibit will move on to other cities this Fall, and will appear in science and art museums, as well as galleries. If you can't make a showing, take a look at the project website, or the three magazines (so far) that have published photo essays featuring images from the Canary collection. ::The Canary Project